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Monroe Brook - 5/8/2011

snowmonster

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Date(s) Skied: 5/8/2011

Resort or Ski Area: Monroe Brook, NH

Conditions: Temps in the high 30s, partly sunny, minimal wind. Corn and cream cheese up high and rotten snow down low. Snow near the brook was crevassed and undermined. Numerous brook crossings.

Trip Report: The fine skiing on corn snow up high made up for the difficulty of getting in. This was one ski day I really earned. Because I wanted to avoid the crowds on the east side and knock off another west side adventure, I headed for Monroe Brook which, based on TRs in T4T, seemed to have held snow well. It was another solo adventure and the best I had going for me was a map, compass and a guidebook.

I started hiking on the Ammonoosuc Ravine trail at around 930. The snow started appearing 5 minutes into the hike. I completely missed the turn to Monroe Brook but dumbly stumbled into it. While keeping the brook to my left, a bunch of skiers on skins caught up with me. I then put on skins and kept bearing straight ahead. I then got into a clearing where I caught my first glimpse of the gully. I stayed on the right bank (big mistake) and kept heading up. Unfortunately, it headed into really tight trees that went nowhere. The snow that seemed to connect with the snow up high was on the other bank. I had to turn around and ski down.

I then crawled on my hands and knees to make it past some low and tight trees to get to the brook. With my luck, I ended up crossing at the widest part of the stream in boot deep water. Once on the other side, I had to cross another small brook then resumed skinning up. At around 130, I decided to have lunch and stopped near some rocks. I was taking pictures of a frozen waterfall when a huge chunk just started falling. Luckily, the bigger pieces broke up above but a small bowling ball sized chunk just rolled 2 feet past me. I took that as a sign that I wasn't supposed to be there and put on my skis to head down. As I was skiing down, I looked up to see a skier coming down from higher up. It was my first view of the upper part of the gully that I could not see from where I was.

I turned around and booted it up from there. After a 20 minute climb, I got to about 2/3 of the way up. I decided to make this my turnaround point and skied down in great corn snow. It was an excellent long run and I wanted to come back for more but it was past my 3pm turnaround time.

The worst part of the trek was getting back to the other side of the brook to link up with the rest of the trail down low. Crawling over brush and downed trees and postholing in undermined snow can get pretty hairy (and bloody). I got back to my car at around 430.

Despite the difficulty, I would do it again. I think I have a better idea of the lay of the land now. Solo travel is not for the faint of heart. Unless there's a massive rain storm, the top portions of Monroe Brook are definitely skiable. The lower portions and brook crossings though may be a deterrent. As for the other parts of Ammo, though there are ribbons of snow that can be seen, it looks done. When I headed in, there was a group of 4 heading to Ammo. I didn't see them after. I hope they got some turns. I think the better skiing is on the east side at this point. However, I only saw a total of 10 people the whole day in Monroe. I'm pretty sure there were more people in the pack room at PNVC!

First views of the gully and a close up:



Looking back at the trail heading in:


Past the brook and heading up:


The unfrozen waterfall:


Looking down from my perch:


Heading up higher:


Looking down at the ski route:



Almost down:


Finding the trail through the forest:


The Mt. Washington Hotel and the almost bare west side:
 

andyzee

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Sounds like your adventure was almost as bad as mine at Tux on the same day. Started at 7:30am, got back to the car at 9PM. Glad you made it out OK.
 

snowmonster

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TB, thanks. A Trump hilo, eh? Does that mean I have to show my birth certificate?

Andy, it was an adventure alright but I probably made it sound worse than it was. Monroe Brook was great skiing though despite the bushwack in. 730 to 9? Wow, that was one helluva long day. Where's the TR?
 

andyzee

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TB, thanks. A Trump hilo, eh? Does that mean I have to show my birth certificate?

Andy, it was an adventure alright but I probably made it sound worse than it was. Monroe Brook was great skiing though despite the bushwack in. 730 to 9? Wow, that was one helluva long day. Where's the TR?

I'm in too much pain now, Long story short, comedy of errors.
 
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